Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Trying to stay on track

“Life is a series of experiences each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.” ~ Henry Ford

“We all get where we’re going by circuitous journeys, and some of the setbacks are warranted.” ~ Carol Burnett

Has this ever happened to you? You get an insight about something, or you learn a new skill and your world expands in some way. For awhile your new understanding is glorious and you feel so happy. But not long after something inside you gets frightened and rebels. It sets up an inner conflict which explodes making you feel unsettled and frightened, which causes you to lash out at those around you.

That happened to me last week. I’ve started doing A Course In Miracles daily exercises again this year and I got a profound insight that I wrote about a few posts back. I felt for the first time just how afraid I’ve been most of my life. But the thing is once I got that insight, I saw myself and my relationship to everything as free from fear. I saw myself creating a wonderful new life full of once unimaginable joyful experiences. For a day or two it was a glorious feeling. Then my ego said, “Oh no you don’t. I’m taking control back.” And I began to feel small, and anxious again.

It’s funny the way my ego will use little things to try to reel me back in. This time it was comments from my new critique partners about the first chapter of my new book. I got huffy and wanted to shoot nasty comments back and I even made some nasty comments to my husband about something completely trivial and totally unrelated. When I heard myself, I knew exactly what was happening.

So, I went to my journal to sort out my feelings. Writing always helps me get out the irksome emotions so I can tell my ego to go take a hike. When the negative feelings clear out, I see things much more clearly. What I figured out was that I wasn’t angry with my critique partners or my sweet husband. I was angry that I had let my ego sneak in and try to take control again.

I’ve been at this spiritual, self-awareness work for a long time, and what happened last week should not have come as a surprise to me. It’s always the same, two steps forward and one step back, or at least my ego would like me to take steps back. But once I’ve had that new insight, or learned that new skill, I can’t unsee or unlearn it. It’s kind of like those mind bending pictures artists do to try to get us to see the hidden words, or figures in their work. We stare at the picture and once we see what they’ve hidden, we can’t unsee it.

Even though there are things that unsettle me from time to time, I’m grateful I have the tools of writing and meditation to help me work things out. Sometimes I wonder what it must be like for people who don’t have any way to get rid of their fear. I wish I could help them. Maybe one way I can help is to be honest about my own stumbling journey. Another is to be kind. I’m not always good at either of those especially if I feel threatened, but I’ll keep working on it.

To end this post, I’ll include a review of my first book from a friend of mine sent a day after my little run in with my ego. It was totally unexpected and came just at the right time.

“Recently, I finished reading a book titled, The Space Between Time, by my friend, Lucinda Sage-Midgorden. It was the best book I’ve read in a long time. It kept me captivated, which I have not experienced from any other book for the past couple of years. I loved all the little gems of meaningful and what I call spiritual statements throughout the book. You know, those words that make you pause and think, and sometimes have an “aha” from or a deeper awareness about something. And it was entertaining and informational about some of the history in the 1800’s and yet, contemporary. It also reminded me of the importance of “living in community” and how important it is to help one another and be engaged in your community. Thank you Lucinda for a wonderful, entertaining and captivating book!” ~ Rita Gau

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your taking time out of your week to comment and like my posts.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

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When Your Story Takes a Different Direction

“The characters won’t do what I want.” ~ Charles Dickens, The Man Who Invented Christmas

“Wherever my story takes me, however dark and difficult the theme, there is always some hope and redemption, not because readers like happy endings, but because I am an optimist at heart. I know the sun will rise in the morning that there is a light at the end of every tunnel.” ~ Michael Morpurgo

“Every story I create, creates me. I write to create myself.” ~ Octavia E. Butler

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” ~ Philip Pullman

I used to think that writing was a matter of sitting down and letting the story pour forth in it’s completely finished form. Boy was I wrong!

When I began writing the book that became The Space Between Time, the story was going to be about the loving relationship between a daughter and her father in the years leading up to the Civil War. My initial inspirations were my relationship with own father and my pioneering ancestors. It was going to be a fictional chronicle of the wisdom my father had shared with me over the years.

I began writing the book after one particular visit when I knew that my father’s health had taken a definite downturn. That was in 1998 or ’99. But I had to stop writing because I began teaching full-time. When I picked up the book again in 2010, the story wanted to go in a different direction. Time had changed crucial elements about my story since my father had been dead for six years. Morgan now had to deal with the death of her father, and since her mother was also dead, she had an opportunity to build an new life. The link between Morgan and her father was not broken, but the talks I had envisioned had to be altered. Now she remembered things he taught her, and occasionally he came to her in spirit form when she needed him.

As I worked on my book, there came a point when I had written all I knew how to write about Morgan’s life. Something was nagging to be included in the story, but what it was was not quite clear to me. Then as I’ve written in previous posts, the inspiration came from another author. Originally I had thought that Morgan would be the main character and her life would somehow be aided, or intertwined with someone in our present time, but I couldn’t see or hear the story of the character in the present. It was as if I knew the character was there, but she was behind a veil, or off having ice cream, or hanging out with friends. Whatever she was up to, she wasn’t available to tell me her story.

However, when the fellow author suggested I intertwine the present timeline with the past, I knew he was right. That’s when Jenna began to reveal herself to me. Her life had been shattered too just like Morgan’s, only for her it happened all in one day. Her fiancé broke off their engagement, her mother died in a car accident and she lost her job. She needed to rebuild her life. As I listened to Jenna, I realized I was writing about the time when I lost a most beloved teaching position. Because of our connection, Jenna needed to be the main character. Once she told me that she would find the journals of her three-times great-grandmother linking their experiences, I was filled with all kinds of new story possibilities for both of my heroines.

Later, of course, another writer friend helped me by suggesting I spread out Jenna’s self-awakening more slowly. This forced me to remember how I had managed to rebuild my life. As I dredged up old memories, I used them to enhance the link between Jenna and Morgan as they helped each other through all kinds of challenges.

I’ve had friends and family, who have read the book, ask me how I came up with all the details of my story. What I tell them is that I did it a little at a time. For me, writing is a little bit like a scavenger hunt. (Do they have those any more?) I get a snippet of story and work on it until it feels like it’s done, at least for the present. Then another snippet comes to me usually just as I’m waking up in the morning, and I begin working on that new section, and on it goes until I have a finished draft.

When I finished the rough draft of The Space Between Time, I thought I was finished with Jenna and Morgan’s story. However, it wasn’t long before a new segment of their story nagged at the back of my mind and the sequel, Time’s Echo was born.

To tell you the truth, where the ideas for these books came from is a bit of a mystery. I mean, for a long time I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t know how to put my ideas into a coherent form. Nevertheless, once I got the concept for The Space Between Time, it simmered on the back burner of my mind, even when I was extremely busy teaching. Finally the day came when the stew was ready to be served and I started writing. Now that it’s finished, I’m in a little bit of awe of how my writing process has evolved and that the ideas in this book have led to the next book. And not only that, I have ideas for books of different kinds.

I have to say I’m hooked on this wonderful creative process. Now I write not only to make sense out of my own life, but to see where my imagination will take me. So, the moral of this post is that I have to keep writing.

There are many stories to be told by me, and other people, which means there are lots of different stories to be enjoyed. So, help your favorite storytellers by spreading the word about their work. Believe me, the creators will be grateful you did because, the main challenge for an author is to get their story noticed.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Questions I’ve Had for a Long Time

Hypatia, Greek Alexandrian Philosopher

“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.” ~ Jane Austen, Persuasion

“There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other the pen. There is a great competition and rivalry between the two. There is a third power stronger than both, that of the women.” ~ Muhammad Ali Jinnah

“I do not think, sir, you have any right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the use you have made of your time and experience.” ~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“These days, however, I am much calmer – since I realized that it’s technically impossible for a woman to argue against feminism. Without feminism, you wouldn’t be allowed to have a debate on women’s place in society. You’d be too busy giving birth on the kitchen floor – biting down on a wooden spoon, so as not to disturb the men’s card game – before going back to quick-liming the dunny. This is why those female columnists in the Daily Mail – giving daily wail against feminism – amuse me. They paid you £1,600 for that, dear, I think. And I bet it’s going in your bank account, and not your husband’s. The more women argue loudly, against feminism, the more they both prove it exists and that they enjoy its hard-won privileges.” ~ Caitlin Moran, How to be a Woman

As I woke up this morning I was thinking about my new novel, Time’s Echo, with the main theme of women fighting for their rights. Then I saw the new Time cover with “Person of the Year”, which this year is actually all The Silence Breakers. The cover has several women on it who have blown the whistle on how men in power abused them. I gave a little cheer, as I do every time a woman speaks up and people believe her.

Those two things brought up lots of old questions that I’ve been asking since I was harassed for choosing religious studies as my major forty-one years ago. I wanted to know then, and I still want to know, what makes men think they have the right to tell me what to do with my life? And that’s just one little part of my internal feud with the male dominated societies we live in.

It’s not just men, of course, who want to make themselves feel more secure by trying to control their outer world. We all do it and I don’t understand why. Well, that’s not exactly true. I do understand why we do it. We do it because we’re afraid, and because it’s easier to blame something or someone outside ourselves than to do the work necessary to make a real and lasting change in ourselves. Some people think it’s just too much work.

But, at what point did we assume that we know what is best for other people and try to get them to live their lives as we would prescribe?

Maybe it’s a silly exercise, but for some reason I feel like I can’t go on with my book until I can pinpoint the moment we, as a species, went off the rails. My ultimate goal for Time’s Echo is to not only write about what is wrong with female/male relationships, but to suggest some solutions as well. I know – it’s just a novel. But for some reason I can’t proceed until I can offer some hope.

In my imagination I go back to the beginning of the human race and see women taking roles that their brains are programed to perform, and men doing the same thing. Men and women worked as a team. But then something happened and men decided that they needed to take over and control everything including women. What made women agree to this clearly unhealthy and detrimental situation?

I’m only an amateur student of history and brain research, but even I can see that men’s and women’s brains work differently. (See, Men are Mars, Women are from Venus for a clue.) I don’t need to enumerate those differences that have been coming to light over the last century or so. But this is what I think might have happened. Women were so busy taking care of the children, managing everyday tasks like, foraging for edible and medicinal plants, cooking, making a home and clothing, taking care of the children, and tending the sick and wounded, that they allowed men to take on the more aggressive tasks of brining home food from the hunt, building homes and community structures, and protecting the family group. Over time somehow men thought their tasks were more important. I mean their brains were wired for conflict and protection which in my mind, naturally led to possession. Maybe women were too busy to notice this subtle shift from team player to dominator until it was too late. And women being decidedly less aggressive, allowed men to take on this new role. But I can also imagine that ancient women might have looked on this new kind of man, as immature. “Oh, they’ll grow up soon and we’ll be able to be full partners again.” Meanwhile the drive to produce children was strong in both men and women, so an uneasy alliance was formed. That was many, many centuries ago. Women are still waiting for men to grow up.

Not long ago I turned on the TV and the DVR was set to my favorite station, TCM. A movie was in progress. A husband and wife were having a discussion. The wife was packing to leave. The husband said, “I don’t understand. Why are you leaving?” To which the wife replied, “Oh, Bob, what a child you are.” Bob’s response is the part that made me stop what I was doing and get info on the movie. He said, “Of course, I am. All men are children. They like to play and chase toy balloons.” The name of the movie is Madam Satan (1930), a title I hate, by the way. But that little bit of dialogue made something click in my head. Women want true partners not only in marriage but in all aspects of life, but sometimes don’t find them. They marry little boys who are chasing balloons, and other bits of fun, which makes them too busy to be true partners. It happens that way in business too. And in those situations, women are left to pick up the pieces.

I don’t want you think that I hate men. I was raised by an amazing father who was mature, loving, responsible, respectful, and who understood human nature. I was also fortunate to be surrounded by other great men. I married one. These men gave me hope that one day, the child/men were going to finally grow up. Thankfully, we’re finally seeing it happen.

Men have ruled the world for centuries, but I can’t put all the blame on them. For whatever reason, we women have allowed this situation to be perpetuated. And our efforts to gain some measure of autonomy has twisted us in weird ways. I’m writing in generalities here, which is always dangerous, but nevertheless, I believe my observations to be accurate for at least some women. We women became expert manipulators. We learned how to make men think they came up with some great ideas, in other words the “woman behind the man” concept. We have become competitive with each other over the “best” men, or life situation. We’ve hidden our intelligence. We’ve allowed men to use and abuse us to maintain security, all of which has shattered our collective feelings of self-worth. Of course, there have been women who have not allowed men to dominate their ambitions, or take away their power. They stand out as fantastic examples for the rest of us. I think those women helped the rest of us wake up to all the possibilities we have been missing out on.

Thank heaven there is now a definite change in long held attitudes. It’s going to take us a very long time to unravel our old ways of thinking and discover new ways to relate to each other.

But this is what I’d like to see happen from this day forward: More cooperation and less competition between men and women in government, business, and all aspects of society. I want more women in leadership positions so we can have discussions about how to come up with real solutions to all of our world problems. I want every person to have a roof over their heads, food on the table, education, access to health care, and a job they can be proud of. I want us to respect each other. Making that dream come true probably won’t happen in my lifetime. That doesn’t matter. I’ll keep hoping, writing, and working for that outcome anyway.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

‘Tis the Season 3

Aunt Nila and Me on a snowy Arizona day.

“One thing I like about historical fiction is that I’m not constantly focusing on me, or people like me; you’re obliged to concentrate on lives that are completely other than your own.” ~ Emma Donoghue

“Cultural concepts are one of the most fascinating things about historical fiction.” ~ Diana Gabaldon

“The thing that most attracts me to historical fiction is taking the factual record as far as it is known, using that as scaffolding, and then letting imagination build the structure that fills in those things we can never find out for sure.” ~ Geraldine Brooks

As you might have guessed from the quotes above, today I’m focusing on authors of historical fiction. I agree with all three of those above quotes. Each one expresses why I love historical fiction. It’s fun imagining what it might have been like to live during those times having to cope with the wars, or travel, or political situations, or just daily life. So, today I want to share some authors of historical fiction that I have not only enjoyed reading, but who have transported me to new locations and time periods in such a vivid way that I could imagine living there.

Zoe Saadia

Zoe Saadia has written “several novels of pre-Columbian Americas.” The first of her novels I read was Two Rivers book one of The Peacemaker series. In this series, Two Rivers is a member of one of the Iroquois tribes. He’s fed up with the perpetual raiding and fighting that goes on among the different tribes of the area and comes up with a plan to unite all the people into one great league. You have probably seen the symbol of this confederation on our money, the eagle holding a group of arrows his its talons, the idea being that we are stronger together than we are separate.

What attracted me to this series was the fact that I learned of the Iroquois Great League for the first time while teaching American Literature at the high school level. When I read Two Rivers, I was hooked and bought the entire series. I was riveted not just to the political intrigue, but the subtle differences of each tribe’s practices and culture.

I’ve read other of Ms. Saadia’s books in The Rise of the Aztec, and The Pre-Aztec series,The Highlander, and The Young Jaguar respectively, and plan to finish each of those series as well as the other books she has written. One of the things that impresses me about her writing is the respect for and imagination she shows in creating fully formed cultures.

Zoe contacted me after the review I wrote about Two Rivers, she was so thrilled. And she even read a couple versions of my novel, The Space Between Time. She gave me great feedback. I highly recommend her books and I will keep reading her work.

Octavia Randolph

I’m intrigued by the middle ages. I tend to read lots of historical fiction that takes place during that vast time period. I’m not sure why, except that it may have to do with books like Octavia Randolph’s The Circle of Ceridwen Saga. These books take place during the early Medieval period. The first book, The Circle of Ceridwen begins in 871 England where the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms face a new invading group, the Vikings. If you’ve been watching The Vikings on The History Channel, you might be interested in this set of books. I had a naive notion about this time period. But this series taught me a great deal about trade routes and the goods and services that were available. Ms. Randolph takes the reader into a richly drawn set of cultures and characters. I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I also learned of the island of Gotland, a province of Sweden, in the Baltic Sea from reading this series. I do not ever remember learning about it in school. Now I want to go there.

Jean Gill

Jean Gill’s The Troubadours Quartet, takes place in the 1150s France, the Holy Land, and England. The first of this series is Song at Dawn. I haven’t finished this series yet, but again, Ms. Gill draws the reader into a new world of Crusades, court intrigue on large and small levels not to mention, the life of the troubadours.

Another thing I loved about this series is the research Ms. Gill did into the healing arts and practices, the herbs used and other medical procedures that were available to the people of that time period. I’m excited to finish reading this series because of all the new things I learn in each book.

When we think of artists, we think mostly of those of the Renaissance, but as each of these series show, the arts, both creative and healing, were alive and well even in pre-historic times.

I hope I haven’t bored, but inspired you to pick up one of these series, or gift them to family and friends who are avid readers.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

‘Tis the Season 2

It’s a Wonderful Life Village

“Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.” ~ Steven Pressfield

“To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” ~ Douglas Adams

Artists are people who try to interpret the world. For the most part we are attempting to express something we feel that is difficult to express in words. We create dances, or paintings, to evoke those feeling. Writer’s struggle, not always because we’re lazy, or find housework more interesting, but because putting things as nebulous as deep emotions into something as imprecise as words is extremely difficult. People who are not artists do not always appreciate the soul searching, time and effort, not to mention the cost of materials, it takes to create that work of art that they think is too expensive. But when you buy a work of art, you’re buying more than the canvas, paints, entertainment, or paper and words. You’re buying communication between the creator’s soul and yours. For this reason, I want to continue promoting the work of my writer friends and acquaintances.

The two authors I encourage you to check out today are women who have done a wonderful job of expressing deep emotions in their work.

Julie Christine Johnson

I met Julie online. I’m not sure where, probably Facebook. She was enormously encouraging to me as I was writing The Space Between Time so when her first novel, In Another Time, was published I was anxious to read it. Some of the elements are very similar to my novel. There is a woman who’s life has fallen apart, two time periods with some time travel elements, and the protagonist experiences some extraordinary experiences just like the women in my novel. But In Another Time takes place mostly in France. The reader can learn a great deal about the Cathars, a religious sect active during the middle ages. They were wiped out by the Catholic Church in the 1600s, if I remember correctly. This book is one many women have enjoyed but I think men can also relate to the characters and events of the story. I haven’t read Julie’s second book yet, The Crows of Beara. It takes place in Ireland. I have it on my long wish list. Julie’s writing is beautiful and her books would make wonderful Christmas gifts.

Stacy Bennett

Stacy is another person I met through Facebook. We are both members of a writer’s group there. When her first novel, Quest of the Dreamwalker came out, I was very excited to read it. It’s a fantasy, my favorite genre, and it had a women protagonist. When I downloaded it to my Kindle and began reading, I was hooked from the very first page. This fantasy novel takes place in a fictional world in a medieval type time period with an evil wizard, a war, mercenary soldiers, and an Amazon like society of mystics and warrior women protected by a ring of trees with leaves that become sharp blades if a man ventures into their realm. But the way the plot unfolds is original and unexpected. The relationships among the group of main characters is an important part of the story. I was so taken with this novel, that I gladly purchased a novella Stacy wrote to keep her fans happy while she finishes the second in the Dreamwalker series. That novella is Tales of the Archer. I loved it as much as the first novel even though it is about two of the side characters in her original story. It may be some time before Stacy can finish the sequel to Quest of the Dreamwalker, because like most authors, she has to work at a regular job to support her writing habit. I’ll be ready to read her second novel no matter when it comes out. However, in the mean time, you can enjoy the above mentioned books and one other by Stacy, Son of Anubis, which is also on my wish list.

Please don’t forget, if you get books for Christmas, whether they are these or others on your wish list, share how much you love them with your friends, ask your local bookstore and library to carry them. If you belong to a book club group, suggest the books to the group, and best of all write a review on Goodreads, Amazon, or other booksellers sites. Reviews help authors sell more books.

Thanks for reading, writing comments and pressing the like button. I appreciate it very much.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

‘Tis the Season

Small Christmas Tree

“Your personal life, your professional life, and your creative life are all intertwined. I went through a few very difficult years where I felt like a failure. But it was actually really important for me to go through that. Struggle, for me, is the most inspirational thing in the world at the end of the day – as long as you treat it that way.” ~ Skylar Grey

“I’ve had the thought that a person’s ‘artistic vision’ is really just the cumulative combination of whatever particular stances he has sincerely occupied during his creative life – even if some of those might appear contradictory.” ~ George Saunders

“It took me a long time to even dare to envision myself as a writer. I was very uncertain and hesitant and afraid to pursue a creative life.” ~ Jhumpa Lahiri

I just finished reading Love Life, With Parrots by my friend Cappy Love Hanson. It’s a wonderful memoir. We had lunch this week with another writing friend, Debrah Strait and just as I was arriving at our favorite Chinese restaurant, I got the idea to promote the books of some of my face-to-face and online writer friends during this holiday season. I figure it’s good karma. So this week I’ll tell you a little bit about Cappy and Debrah’s books.

Debrah Strait

I’ll begin with Debrah because I’ve read three of her books and loved all of them. The thing that is interesting about Debrah is that she doesn’t write just one genre. I’ve read rough drafts of screen plays, science fiction stories, her flash fiction book, Flash of the Pen, her novel, The Sweet Trade, and her latest book, Notes from Bisbee: Twenty years of Living with Rattlesnakes, Killer Bees, and Folks in Need of Supervision. This latest book I read as Debrah was developing it, and there were several times I laughed out loud partly because I live near Bisbee and know it’s reputation, but also because of the way Debrah described events and people.

Each of her books has a different flavor, if I can use that as a writing metaphor. But each one is poignant, serious, adventurous, funny, and they make you think. Even in her nonfiction stories the characters are vivid. I could almost hear their voices in my head as I read each holiday letter.

The first finished book of Debrah’s I read was The Sweet Trade. It’s a pirate novel and even though I’m not a big fan of pirate novels, I knew enough about Debrah’s writing that I wanted to read it. This is one of a handful of books I’ve read that grasped me from the first sentence. I wanted to know what happened to Dirk and his young friends as their village is destroyed and their families killed. As they try to survive, they get tangled up in the world of pirates in the mid-1600s Caribbean. This is a great book for anyone on your list who loves adventure. It’s got historical figures, battles, shipwrecks and even romance, something to appeal to almost anyone.

If you like stories with quirky characters, Notes from Bisbee might be for you, especially since the characters in this book are real people which proves that sometimes reality is stranger than fiction.

Cappy Love Hanson

I have to say, I’m not usually a big fan of memoirs, but again, since I knew Cappy and a little bit about her writing, I wanted to read her book. I’m always amazed at people who are able to lay out their life on the page in such a vulnerable way. Cappy does this. We suffer through her various romantic relationships as she tries to learn to love herself and find that one lasting love all the while being supported by the relationship she has with her parrots.

Cappy’s book has adventure as well. She describes a horrific car accident that she should not have survived, and the subsequent healing process she went through which included her struggles to find work. She also describes relationship issues with family members that most of us can relate to. Love Life, With Parrots is an affirmation that no matter what challenges we face, there can be love and support for us if we keep trying to find it and give it.

I hope you will consider purchasing one of these wonderful independently published books for yourself, or a loved one because writers and artists have to pay the bills too. And remember to write a review on Amazon, Goodreads, social media, or your favorite bookseller. That’s how we writers attract new readers.

Thanks for reading, liking and leaving comments. I appreciate it very much.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Before You Buy Those Christmas Gifts

Horse Sculpture by Alan Potter

“Giving gifts to others is a fundamental activity, as old as humanity itself. Yet in the modern, complex world, the particulars of gift-giving can be extraordinarily challenging.” ~ Andrew Weil

“I think it would be bad for culture and the art if artists and people who develop the apparatus to support those artists don’t get paid.” ~ Lyor Cohen

“We have to support our local artists. It’s just that simple. Otherwise, we will have no art.” ~ Al Jourgensen

My husband and I are lucky. We have lots of artist friends and our house is filled with beautiful artwork, much of which my husband has created, or traded for. Yet, only recently, since I published my first book, did I understand just how important it is to buy original artwork.

Don’t get me wrong, I love getting the gift cards so I can buy the things I’ve been wanting, and the other thoughtful gifts people give me. But the most meaningful gifts are when someone gives me original artwork. On a recent birthday my mother-in-law gave me a pair of hand carved busts of an African man and woman. I cried when I opened them, they were so beautiful. And I love the handmade earrings and necklaces, and other artwork my husband buys for me from his artist friends. And, of course, I love getting books.

This past week was the annual Art in the Park in our home town. We took Barry’s parents so they could buy a gift for their neighbors who have been picking up their mail. I thought it was nice that they wanted to give them a handmade gift. After they purchased the gift, we visited a potter friend of Barry’s. He and his wife had invited us to dinner one Christmas season when Barry’s parents were visiting. It was fun for them to connect again. Alan creates whimsical figures, mostly of animals. I have always loved his horses. As I looked around the booth I saw the beautiful horse figure pictured above and I decided to buy it. I did this following advice I recently read about supporting fellow authors. It’s important to buy their book, even if you aren’t going to read it, because it supports all the hard work they put into creating the book, and it’s good karma. I think that principle can be applied to supporting local artists as well. Art is a reflection of someone’s soul. Buying those that speak to you enriches our life. Yet, often people balk at paying so much for a piece of artwork not appreciating the time and effort expended in its creation.

One day when my sister and I were talking about the situation in this country, a kind of radical idea struck me. We have been brainwashed into thinking that buying goods and services for the least amount of money possible is a good thing. That’s why Walmart, Costco, the Dollar Store and other stores of that type have sprung up all over the country. We have been encouraged to buy cheap, kitchy stuff that we don’t really need. Slowly the idea of buying cheap, then when it breaks, buying another equally cheap item to replace it, has become the norm. We’ve never stopped to think who benefits from planned obsolesce? What happened to the notion that when we need to make a purchase, we should first consider the quality of what we want to buy?

Barry and I spent last Christmas with his family, and I was happy to hear our nephew and his wife say that they were saving money to buy a dining room set made by a local master craftsmen. It was going to be an expensive purchase, but they wanted it BECAUSE it was handmade with great care and would last many, many years. I loved that!

There are certain things that are worth spending a great deal of money on. As my father used to say, “Buy the best and you will never be sorry.” So, I’ve begun to change my ideas when it comes to buying clothing, books, and other household items. Knowing that I’ve purchased the best just makes me feel good. Buying artwork to enrich my home gives me very much the same feeling. I’m not only paying for the piece, but the time the artist spent making it, and their artistic vision.

I hope to begin a trend of showing appreciation for wonderful craftsmanship by taking the time to consider giving quality handmade Christmas gifts this year. They don’t have to be expensive, but it would be nice if they were unique and well made. If you do this, you will help support an artist so they can continue to make beautiful things for us to admire and appreciate.

Thanks for reading, commenting, and liking my posts. I appreciate it very much.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Help Your Favorite Author

My Favorite Books

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

“Reading is a conversation. All books talk. But a good book listens well.” ~ Mark Haddon

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” ~ Ray Bradbury

My husband’s parents are visiting, so I have been busy doing all the domestic chores I let slip because I’m too busy writing to vacuum and dust. Since that is the case, this post is going to be a little bit of a repeat of one I posted earlier in the year.

The Space Between Time is published in both ebook and print-on-demand formats. I hope you will consider doing some or all of the things on this list so you can help me and your favorite author sell more books. An author can’t make any money if no one knows the book exists.

Word of mouth is still the best advertising tool. How many of you discuss your favorite TV show’s latest episode with friends, family and coworkers? See what I mean? You are creating a buzz. You can do that for your favorite authors as well. Here are some ways you can help them.

Write a review of the books you read and leave it on Amazon, Goodreads, in your blog, or any social media site you choose.

If you are a member of Goodreads, just putting books on your “want to read” shelf will get the book noticed by the Goodreads staff and they may even promote them on their site.

If you like a book, let your local bookstore and library know what you thought of it, and ask them to carry and promote it.

Share your thoughts about the book with your friends and book club groups that you might belong to.

Consider asking the author to have a Skype session with your book club group so they can ask questions, or suggest that your local bookstore invite your favorite author to have a book reading/signing.

Give the book to your friends and family as gifts.

You may think these tips are rather easy and trivial, but if you help your favorite author sell more books, you will be helping them pay for all the time they spent working on it. Writing a book is not an easy thing to do, you know.

If you are so inclined to buy my book, and promote it. I will greatly appreciate it, and so will your favorite authors when you do the same for them.

The Space Between Time description: When Jenna’s life is shattered, she finds journals linking her to Morgan, a distant ancestress. As she enters Morgan’s consciousness, the two women embark on life changing parallel journeys that may help them find self-knowledge, healing, and love.

Thanks so much for reading. I appreciate your comments and likes.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

It’s Here!

Revised book cover for The Space Between Time

“Why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.” ~ J. K. Rowling

“Finishing books – and leaving the world you’ve created – is always a kind of emotionally wrenching experience. I usually cry.” ~ Lauren Oliver

I’m not crying, that The Space Between Time is live on Amazon, I’m cheering. The process of publishing a book is long and arduous and now that I’ve completely finished, okay I may do an audio book, I can now devote my full attention to the sequel novel and other projects. That’s a huge relief.

On the other hand, there are things I discovered while making the final corrections that I could have gone back and changed. Instead I said, “Hmm, should I go back and make those corrections to the sheriff’s dialect, or should I be like Elizabeth Gilbert and say, ‘Done is better than good.’” I do want my book to be good but will the reader really care if the sheriff says, “ya”, instead of “y’all”? I will change his dialect in the second book, but it was just time to get all versions of this book out into the world and move on to the next.

I do have a word to say about writing dialogue in general and dialect specifically. The way we speak and the vocabulary we use says a lot about us, and about characters in a book. I have several characters with specific dialects in this book. I didn’t even attempt to write the New England dialect, because I couldn’t hear that one in my head. However, since my background is in theatre, I automatically hear the characters speaking, so mostly I write the dialogue first. But that doesn’t mean I type the dialect correctly on the first few go arounds. I’m going to have to look for some writer apps or websites that can help me with that on the next book.

I think writing dialect is a tricky thing because you have to make sure the reader understands what the character is saying. Not long ago I was reading a book that took place someplace in what is now the UK. The author wrote what one character was saying in their native dialect, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what the heck that character was saying. My conclusion: indicate the dialect, but make it readable for all readers, not just the ones who are familiar with it.

Of course, now that my book is published in both ebook and print-on-demand options, the fun (ugh) work of marketing and promotion begins. That’s going to be an interesting learning process. I’m only somewhat familiar with how to proceed, so I will keep working on that a little bit at a time. I know that many authors do pre-sales of their books and are so happy when they get lots of books sold ahead of time. I’m just not that kind of person. I’d rather have a slow but steady interest in my book. I hope that happens and I hope that this book will be one that people are reading many, many years from now.

If you buy The Space Between Time, I ask you to do somethings for me. Reviews help sell books, so if you would be willing to write a few sentences on Amazon, Goodreads, or any of your social networks (posting the links where people can buy it too) that would be a big help. And please post an honest review.

If  you don’t have time to read the book yet, but belong to Goodreads, putting it on your “want to read” shelf helps the Goodreads administrators see that there is interest and they may choose to promote it.

Also, if you feel so inclined and like the book, recommend it to your local bookstore, and/or library, book club group, on social media, or any other place you can think to talk about it. Even if you only tell your friends about it, that would be great. If you’ve got a blog, a mention there would also help me get the word out.

Here is a description of The Space Between Time:

Life is not going well for Jenna Holden. Her live-in-fiancé walks out. Her estranged mother is in a terrible accident that may kill her. And instead of the promotion she’s expecting at her book editor job, she’s fired. Jenna must return to the small town where she grew up to recoup. With all that’s happened she sees no future for herself.

But then, in her mother’s attic, Jenna finds journals written by a long-dead ancestress. They transport her to another time and place, giving her access to the thoughts and feelings of another woman, also alone in the world, who is facing similar trials of heartache and loss. Reading them somehow gives Jenna an escape from her own pain and sorrow, yet offers a doorway to resilience, healing, and the joy of a supportive love. Jenna need only find the self-knowledge and courage to step through, into that space between time.

Thanks so much for continuing to read, Sage Woman Chronicles. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon, CreateSpace, and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

I am Enough

Tarantula Nebula

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves.” William Shakespeare

“If a man wants to be sure of his road he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.” ~ St. John of the Cross, Mystic and Saint

I’m kind of stubborn and sometimes unteachable. I’m like my dad in that way. There are certain activities that I want to discover for myself. I want to find my own way of doing it and I get irritated when someone tells me I have to do it exactly the way they do.

When I had an idea for the novel that became The Space Between Time, I just started writing even though my degrees were in religion, theatre and education. I came back to it, after having to put to it away because I became a full-time teacher. At that point I did take one writing class. But I realized that each writer has their own method and taking classes in writing can be learning someone else’s method. That hinders the student’s work because they try to fit into a mould that might not work for them. That is unless the instructor encourages his or her students to discover their own way of working. That’s my style of teaching. I give a framework, but the students must follow their own creative path.

When I read week four of Art & Soul Reloaded, including this week’s exercise, I was excited. Pam Grout encourages us to just start the project that has come to us. We don’t need to take a class, or read a book to create something remarkable.

One thing I love about this book is that Ms. Grout mentions all different kinds of creative people and the struggles they face producing their art because, for the most part they feel inadequate. In this chapter she writes about Tracy Morgan the Emmy-nominated actor and Saturday Night Live superstar. She opens her story about him with one of his quotes. “Society gave me a ten-foot wall and a five-foot ladder and then sat back to see if I’d get my black ass over that wall. It wasn’t impossible, but I had to be creative.” He has said that being funny was a way for him to survive living in the projects, and slowly it dawned on him that he might be able to be funny in front of an audience and make a living doing it. His first wife told him to go for it, but “… you’ve got to go all the way.”

When I read Tracy Morgan’s story, I compared myself to him, for just a moment. His life was much worse than mine and he learned to follow his bliss much earlier than I did. But then I remembered that as a young child, Divine Oneness and I became friends and I followed her lead in most of the decisions I made for my life. My theater training led me to teaching which led me to writing. For me, all that was the perfect path to take. Since we’re each unique, no decision is wrong, as long as we’re following our inner guides and offering up our talents to others. It took me a long time to understand that. There are still times when I want to beat myself up for taking soooooo long to get out of my own way and just commit to writing wholeheartedly. Thank heaven those times are now few and far between.

Wholeheartedly, that’s my word for the year. To me, one aspect of being wholehearted about something means you commit completely by taking time to finish all the steps necessary to make your vision come true. That may mean entering a degree program, or it may just mean starting that project that has been nagging at you. So, this year I have carefully, but wholeheartedly embraced publishing The Space Between Time. I say carefully, because I’ve discovered that I’m not a slap-the-book-together kind of person. I like to make sure not only the story is as good as I can make it, but that all the mechanical stuff is right too. I’m happy to say that Barry and I finished the final corrections this past weekend. Barry has uploaded the final manuscript for both ebook and print-on-demand versions. Hopefully we’ll get through the approval process, and the physical book will be available by next week for you to order.

I often wonder what it would be like if all parents and teachers allowed their children and students to create anything they wanted, instead of making them follow some pre-conceived notion of what makes good art, or music, or dance, or stories. To me allowing someone to express themselves in their own true way is the ultimate act of love. If more people gave encouragement to their friends, family and coworkers to listen to their inner creative voices, wow! think how wonderful the world would be.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and will soon be available in a print-on-demand version at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.